- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 15, 2003

TEL AVIV Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, in Israel with a delegation of police officers from the United States and Canada, believes that a weeklong anti-terror seminar with Israeli counterparts will help improve preparations for any threats to the United States' capital.
Chief Ramsey is one of 33 chiefs and top officers from cities across North America getting a crash course on how Israeli police fight terrorism.
The delegation is listening to detailed accounts of major attacks in Israeli cities and then touring the scene of the violence, such as a Tel Aviv disco where a suicide bomber killed more than 20 people in June 2001.
"I think it's invaluable. They have so much more experience in dealing with this than we do in the United States," Chief Ramsey said.
The seminars are providing "a better understanding of why such tensions exist in the Middle East and have now spilled over into the rest of the world, because this is really a global issue now, instead of a regional issue," he said.
About 447 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks last year, according to Israeli army statistics. More than 5,000 strikes occurred in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; 177 took place inside of Israel.
Seminar participants got a primer on the history of the major terrorist groups that operate internationally. Israeli police officers also detailed the structure of the force-and-command chain they use to respond to terrorist attacks.
Chief Ramsey said that he's particularly interested in how Israel's police force balances anti-terrorism efforts with the daily mission of fighting crime and providing security to citizens.
He urges that this conference be followed up by a larger one in Washington that would attract law-enforcement officials from other democracies facing similar problems, such as United Kingdom and Australia.
"This needs to be followed up with a lot of dialogue and discussion on just how do you fight terrorism in a democratic society," he said.
The delegation which included police chiefs from New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Phoenix, and Toronto toured Jerusalem and Tel Aviv yesterday and Monday under tight security.
Israeli National Police Commissioner Shlomo Aharonishki said the delegation would hear about Israel's tactics for combating, profiling and identifying suicide bombers.
Another theme emphasized at the seminar is the strategic advantage of enlisting help from the public. Commissioner Aharonishki pointed to Israel's wide use of civilian defense units and public awareness campaigns to increase alertness to terrorist attacks.
"The meetings are primarily intended for dialogue. At the end of the day, each one needs to take whatever he can from the seminar and see what he can do with it in his own country," he said.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer said that the visit has been in the works for a year.
He added that the war on terrorism also involves preserving democratic values, such as pluralism and the right to life and liberty.


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